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GENO: It’s Right Here in Front of Us

Posted Nov 11, 2013

Transcript of quarterback Geno Smith following our Monday afternoon practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

On if he went home during the bye week…

I got a chance to go home, see my family. That’s always good, and then some good Florida weather, it’s always warm down there, so I got a chance to be there for a few days.

On if he was able to get away from football during the bye week…

I couldn’t. I was watching Little League games, high school games, college, NFL, so my week was still filled with football.

On how he went about preparing for Buffalo…

Before I left, I got a good amount of tape in. I had a chance to watch those guys and see the personnel. They've got a lot of guys back and their defense has really amped it up as of late, so I got a chance to do that. Then watched some HUDL, saw some things on my iPad on the plane, did some things as far as studying the playbook at home, got here and did some more studying.

On Buffalo’s defense getting back Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd...

They’re good. They like to play that aggressive style of defense similar to how we play. They play a lot of man, so having those guys back definitely helps them. Two of their top guys in the secondary as far as Byrd and Gilmore go, and the other guys, I think they’re playing even better, with added confidence, having those guys back. So it has really helped them out.

On how he is different from the last time the team played Buffalo…

Experience. Obviously decision-making, just getting better with that. Every single thing needs to improve on my end, but I’ve gained more experience and I’ve gotten better with my decision-making and just becoming a better overall quarterback and leader of this team.

On getting Kellen Winslow back…

It’s great. We’ve missed him over those four weeks. Obviously, we’ve had to deal with his situation, but to have a guy like that out there definitely helps us. Another body, a veteran guy, a guy who knows how to get open and who’s made plays for us in the past, and also a guy who’s a leader, a guy who can share stories with a guy like Zach [Sudfeld], who’s a rookie, who can also help Jeff [Cumberland], Konrad [Reuland] and all those guys. To have those guys back — we’ll get Jeff back as well — is really going to help us out.

On if he thinks Santonio Holmes will probably be ready to play Buffalo…

Yeah, from my understanding he’s day-to-day, but he practiced today. He looked fine. All those guys pretty much are I think day-to-day. I don’t know the statuses, but to have them out there on the practice field is a huge boost for us as far as communication, timing, precision, every single thing and every single part of our offense goes. It’s really fun. It puts a smile on my face to have those guys back.

On if there is anything he can work on to help the team win road games…

It just comes down to execution. I think in those games I’ve had good plays and obviously I’ve had the interceptions and the turnovers, all those things that can hurt us. So it just comes down to execution and it’s something I’ve been working aggressively on getting better at and eventually we’ll get to the point where we won’t be talking about this, but so far in my time here I’ve had to improve dramatically. That’s something I’ve been trying to do every single day.

On if not being completely acclimated to the NFL contributes to some of the road struggles...

I think it plays some type of role. I don’t know if it’s a huge one, but I do think it plays a role. That’s just a part of my learning experience, getting better with every single thing, knowing how to go out in the world and handle pressure and deal with a hostile crowd. That just comes with communication and experience and it’s something that I think will get better.

On how hard it is take interceptions especially when he did not throw many in college…

Every single one of them crushes me. It hurts me because I hate throwing interceptions, I hate having turnovers, I hate affecting my team in a negative light. So every single one hurts me, but like I’ve always said, I just put those things into perspective and I look at it in the right way, use it as motivation and use it as something to learn from. I don’t let it get me down or put me in a bad mood. Instead, I just work harder and try to correct it.

On the excitement level in the building…

Winning definitely helps. I think we have a great opportunity in front of us and that’s where the excitement lies because we know that as a team, our best football is ahead of us. We have been inconsistent, we’ve shown flashes of being a good team but we’ve also had moments where we haven’t looked so good. We know that as long as we clean up our mistakes and we handle the things that we can control, we’ll have an opportunity. It's right here in front of us. I think we just need to continue to work hard, as we’ve always done, and just get better every single day and things will take care of themselves.

On sticking to the game plan in tight situations…

That’s something that I immediately corrected after making those mistakes. I’ve basically learned my lesson the hard way. You can’t put things on your shoulders, you can’t try to be a hero, you can’t make plays on your own. You just have to stick to the game plan and let the game play out.

That’s something that I think in the last game I did a better job of not forcing the ball. We needed some first downs but it wasn’t there. I just didn’t force the ball, put the game in the hands of our defense. We have a really good defense here, a defense that can win us games. They’ve done it in the past and I think they’ll continue to do so. It starts with me being smart with the football.

Like you and David Lee said, just sticking to the game plan, sticking to my reads. He always tells me not to get off the reservation with things. That’s what I try not to do in those clutch situations late in games.

On if he strayed from the game plan because he had more freedom in college…

I don’t try and compare then and now. Obviously I did have that freedom. There are some habits that I needed to break. It’s a completely different style here, different offense that I am in, a different system. Every single thing is pretty much different. That aggressive mentality is something that Marty [Mornhinweg] loves, that he encourages, but being smart with the football, not putting us in harm's way as far as interceptions and turnovers, just being smart with it.

On if there are specific instances where he left the game plan…

Just on a few of those interceptions, a few of those reads. There were times where I felt that I could fit the ball into some really tight windows. I’m an aggressive player, that’s something that they never want to take away from me and something that I never want to shy away from doing. But it just comes with experience in this league, knowing when to be aggressive, knowing when to try and fit the ball in that window and knowing when to back off and just live to see another play.

On if people talked to him on the flight home…

They talk. I usually sit next to women, they usually don’t bother me that much. If I sit next to a guy who’s a sports fan, he’ll typically look over and ask me a few questions.

On if he pays attention to teams that are playoff contenders…

No, we can’t. Obviously, I know who they are. You can’t pay attention to it. We have to do a better job of taking care of what we can control, which is coming out every single day on that practice field, sharpening our tools, getting guys back healthy, being consistent, being more consistent in games and then going out with that same mentality, to win every single game and to get the job done. That’s all we can control. We don’t want to worry ourselves about what the next team is doing, or how they’re going to try to get into the playoffs, instead just trying to insure our spot by winning games.
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